Understanding Outliers


Activity, Interactive, Publisher, The Mathenæum

This activity is a simple response time game where the students chase a button, building up and analysing score data as they go.  There is a one time "outlier" button that departs from the layout of the other buttons and should take the students by surprise and thus generate a meaningful outlier in the data.

The data can be displayed by a histogram and a box and whiskers plot, giving a good illustration of the relationship between them.

Questions to ask include:

  • Look at any identified outliers.  Was there anything different about your response on these occasions?
  • What do you notice about the difference between the median and the mean? 
  • Can you relate this difference to the shape of the histogram?

17 November 2017 Edit: 27 November 2019

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